Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Being a Counselor, Have I Lost My Identity?

As I wrote earlier this week in my last post, I am no longer considering myself a "counselor." While I have seen this on the horizon for the past several weeks, it is still at the forefront of my mind as the finality of it all is still working its way into my core. Being a counselor was in fact not just my profession, it was my identity. One of the first four questions anyone new asks is, "What do you do?" I no longer have a great answer for that. My only answer is a long drawn out explanation of a meaningless mid-level job that provides me no satisfaction and is not worth the breath explaining it to those that inquire.

Hi, I'm Kevin. I am an Implementation Specialist where I build ethic reporting programs for companies who have contracted us to be a third party reporting avenue for their employees or customers. No, I do not listen to complaints. No, I'm not a lawyer. I work with HR reps, CEOs, CFOs, etc. that have already purchased our programs to make sure it is set up to work how they want it to. I like to think I'm good at what I do and strive to do a good job daily, but I get no satisfaction from it

See? Meaningless to me. If life was a fully functioning watch, I have just learned I am a cog that was put in accidentally and is not moved by any other cogs nor do I effect the time keeping in any way.

Even in profile tags such a Twitter and Facebook my little byte started out with my identity. "Counselor, Christ follower, more involved in politics than I care to be. Daily working to turn inspiration into action." I am reticent in taking them down thinking if I hold out just long enough, life will circle back around and provide me again with...identity.

Counseling was not providing me very much income but it was still who I was and what I was working towards being. Writing some finality to that as I sat at my lunch break the other day just about brought me to tears for the first time since November 2007 right at my desk. I am still wrestling with the brevity of my little counseling career and how much of me I poured into it. By the way, thanks to all of you who have reached out to offer condolences and/or encouragement. It really and truly has meant a lot.

But this situation has also got me thinking. Why had I let this career path consume me? Why had I labeled myself or let others label me as "Kevin the Counselor" (not literally, but for all intensive purposes)? Should I be drawing my identity from my career, my girlfriend/wife (or lack there of), living situation, etc? It is absolutely the easiest place to look at and help provide a definition for who someone is.

But in reality that is not who I am or where I should find my identity. My faith is extremely important to me and I should be finding my identity in Christ. In other words, and in non-religious terms, when people look at me I do not want them to see "me." I want them to see Jesus. So I have to embody what Jesus is. Showing constant love to everyone around me, lifting up the poor and destitute and projecting his message for the world.

I do a poor job of showing Jesus and his love when others look at me. People more than likely have been seeing "Kevin the Counselor" or "Kevin the Sports Fan" or "Kevin the Semi-Disgruntled Employee" or "Kevin the One Who never Likes to Loose an Argument" or "Kevin the Guy Who Walks at Fast Pace and Has No Pocket Change for You."

As the identity I have clung to for so long is being laid to the side for a while, I must reclaim my true identity, "Kevin the Christ Follower; Lover of People; Care Taker of Friends, Family, the Poor, the Rich, the Sinners and the Saints alike."
It will not be easy. Others want to give me other identities. I will be tempted to cling to another identity for myself or go back to trying to be "Kevin the Counselor."
But when that happens, I should make those identities only a part of me...not who I am.